Athletic Club was defeated by FC Barcelona (0-1). Etóo scored the only goal in minute…
Athletic Club was defeated by FC Barcelona (0-1). Etóo scored the only goal in minute 63 and the following rojiblanco attempts to equalize were unsuccessful. Just as expected, the key was to get ahead on the scoreboard so as to manage the rival’s spaces, but Valdés aborted the clearest rojiblanca attempts in the first half and in second half, especially after the goal was scored, the visitors were superior.
The great number of fans who went to San Mamés gave the match the atmosphere it deserved, a score of ten out of ten once again for our supporters, ratifying this encounter as a special one. Athletic Club approached the clash well, being superior in the early stages, without letting the azulgranas monopolize the ball, but came up against an in-form Valdés right from the start. Only two minutes into the game Valdés had already sent David Lopez’s good foul kick off course, although in the 8th minute a reply was given by Etóo when he got past Amorebieta, but his hard shot at goal was repelled by Iraizoz.
Athletic Club moved the ball with sense, used both wings and gave Guardiola’s squad problems. Like the winner of a boxing fight who has won on points, both contenders responded to each and every one of their rival’s blows and that’s how the match was until the break. Iniesta’s shot at goal went high in the 20th minute, Yeste masterfully launched a foul shot in the 22nd, but the magnitude of the save at the hands of Víctor Valdés was equally masterful.
In the same line, just after half an hour had gone by, Llorente didn’t have the right posture to finish off a pass from behind by Garmendia and Iraola saw how a defender cleared Llorente’s following shot at goal and Iraola himself intervened against a violent shot at goal taken by Etóo in the 35th minute. The exchange of slaps continued. Garmendia who had received a pass from Gabilondo took a forced shot at goal which went over the crossbar in minute 37 of the game and Iraizoz deflected while next to the goalpost an Etóo header in the 42nd minute. From being even to having a rest on occasions, in the intensity and pace of the game. The Red-Whites put a large dosis of order and courage into the match, but this was not enough in the second half and the azulgranas tried to open gaps with constant exchanges between Iniesta, Etóo and Henry for the players at the back.
The restart commenced with a more offensive Barça, whereas the rojiblancos couldn’t take the final step towards the transition, since the men in front were unable to hold onto the ball to facilitate the arrival of their companions so that they could be in a culminating position. Sanchez on behalf of Barcelona, in the 48th minute only, missed a shot at goal from a death pass by Iniesta, who in the 53rd minute finished off an off track shot at goal along the way. The Red-White Machine was without a spark and Caparrós tried to get the engine going by sending Susaeta in for Garmendia, but the result could not be demonstrated, seeing that in a run against Henry he got caught up between the lines and gave the ball to Etóo who won the bout against Amorebieta, and then went on to beat, or more like lapidate, Iraizoz with an extremely strong shot at goal..
Athletic appealed to the heart and it was a crazy match for some time with all the risk that this entails. Puyol gave his seat to Márquez, Iraizoz deflected a header taken by Amorebieta which was heading towards our own goal area and Barcelona handled the ball at whim, but Athletic never gave up and kept on insisting in search of the equalizer bearing the weight of the Barça legend which is like a slab of stone which has been worked on thanks to their consistent carvings, which is obvious. So much so that in addition to the fear that makes the legs of their rivals tremble, those in charge of distributing and handing out justice make snappy decisions and give out cards which are easier to call to one side and tend to be politically correct on numerous occasions towards the other.
Ion Vélez and Gurpegi replaced Gabilondo and Orbaiz in a search for freshness during the final stretch, but everything was little and more for our team who are not, by any means, in touch with scoring goals. For Barça Hleb took over from Henry and except for a shot by David Lopez which was interrupted and a clamorous opportunity wasted by Etóo in the 81st minute the match had flagged. A second goal would have been too much, but the result was the same in the end and that’s why it’s important to add points to the order and the courage shown against Barcelona. The following appointment to obtain them is against Madrid, which does not seem to be the easiest way to obtain them, but it’s what the calendar has to offer.